I originally wrote this for the Neurotransmitter, the quarterly newsletter for the St. Petersburg Brain Injury Support Group.
I wanted to take some time to discuss ways to improve our memories.
One of the most important ways to help boost your brain power and, in turn, your memory is by making sure you get enough sleep each night (that translates to 7-9 hours for adults). When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t operate at its full capacity.
Keeping stress in check is also a key component of a healthy brain. Chronic stress can destroy brain cells and has been known to damage the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain responsible for the formation of new memories as well as the retrieval of old ones.
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress!
Depression and anxiety can also affect memory. Some symptoms of depression and anxiety include difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions, and trouble remembering things. Ways to combat depression include exercise (just going for a walk can be helpful), cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
Laughter is also good for your brain! It engages multiple regions across the entire brain. In addition to that, listening to jokes and working out punch lines activates regions of the brain that are vital to learning and creativity.
Diet also plays a pretty big role in our memory. More and more evidence has shown that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for our brain health. You can get these from eating fish or, if (like me), you’re not a fan of seafood, you can get them from eating walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, spinach, broccoli, and kidney beans, among many other things. Drinking green tea is also great for protecting your brain against free radicals.
While none of these tips will reverse our injuries, they should help us remember things a little easier!